Galeria Vermelho is presenting Somos [We Are], Iván Argote’s second solo show at the gallery. At the same time, the Sala Antonio screening room will feature Reddishblue Memories (2017), also by Argote.
In his film As far as we could get, Iván Argote digs an metaphorical tunnel in between Indonesia and Colombia, connecting two cities, Palembang and Neiva respectively. The two municipalities are an exact antipodal pair, situated at diametrically opposite points of the globe. Argote established relationships with the inhabitants of similar social conditions in the two countries, focusing on young people born on the same day as the fall of the Berlin Wall. The artist breaks down geopolitical and emotional borders to portray those who arose simultaneously with the end of a physical barrier that divided a single people separated by beliefs, principles and myths. Feelings, Memory and History circulate and approach the political extremities of the earth’s surface.
Another approximation perceived in the film are the billboards installed by the artist in both cities, announcing the film La Venganza Del Amor [The Revenge of Love]. The film announced within the film might appear ominous, but it is benevolent, as a response to time, to the current moment which is, in many places, one of hostility in relation to the other, to the foreigner or to those who are different. The forecast for the revenge of love is that in the clashing with barriers, love will prevail.
This clashing between the sensitive and insensitive establishes the rhythm for the other pieces that make up the exhibition, including the confrontation that takes place in the film that is unfolded in seven chapters, making the room brighten and darken in intervals that mark the rhythm of the observation of the pieces – while a chapter is being screened, the room becomes dark and vice versa. In the same room as As far as we could get there is a group of sculptures made up of carbon- steel sheets pierced and cut by laser, entitled "Sombras" [Shadows].
Each sculpture is formed by different sheets of steel that overlay different sayings one atop the other, forming anthems based on this superpositioning. Phrases that could be on protest posters are mixed with affective revelations, once again breaking down the line between sensitivity and rationality, as in No Site is Innocent (2017), which mixes the phrase of the title with a term of loving affection : My Dear.
On the ground floor, Argote manipulates the idea of the monument as a work constructed for the memorialist perpetuation of a person or fact relevant to some community. In "Arco [Arc], the artist disassembles a circle of concrete of impactful proportions in six parts that are leaning against the walls and lying on the floor, as though they were lacking bases that could de ne them as self-supporting monuments. Argote’s monuments are fractured and celebrate the interruption of a circular history that could be tragically repeated. In Sírvete de mi, Sírveme de ti [Serve Yourself of Me, I Serve Myself of You] (2017), Iván Argote proposes another “manner” of monument, constituted by a long line of human hands that are interconnected like the links of a chain.
The idea of monument has been questioned in Argote’s work in different pieces such as Strengthlessness (2014). The sculpture’s title refers to a state of lack of power, of impotence, and shows a droopy obelisk that supports itself limply on the floor.
Reddishblue Memories, by Iván Argote, uses the artist’s affective memories as part of an ongoing project of research and speculation based on a rumor associated with the history of George Eastman’s Kodak company, and its switch from Kodachrome to Ektachrome. This was allegedly done for ideological reasons : in the late 1960’s they realized that Kodachrome pictures turned reddish with time, and in the context of Cold War decided that the United States’ archives could not end up with the enemy’s color, and so developed the Ektachrome process, in which pictures eventually turn blue.